Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
By Alex Martin
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens a sprawling 47 acre property in Mendocino County, between California’s Highway One and the Pacific Ocean. It includes canyons, wetlands, coastal bluffs, and a closed-cone pine forest. The Gardens founded in 1961 by Ernest and his wife Betty Schoefer. In the year 1992 the California Coastal Conservancy purchased the Gardens and transferred to the Mendocino Coast Recreation and Park District. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens collection include: Camellia Collection, Coastal Bluffs, Dahlia Garden, Fern Canyon, Heather Garden, Heritage Rose Garden, North Forest, Pacifica Iris Collection, Perennial Garden, Tender Rhododendrons, Vegetable Garden and Woodland Garden, and over 80 varieties of wild mushroom.
The Gardens is famous for its tender species rhododendrons which produce some of the most amazing flowers of the year. The Gardens offers everything from colorful displays to thunderous waves. The pleasant maritime climate makes it a garden for all seasons, attracting visitors, and gardener and nature lovers from all over the world. With manicured formal gardens, dense pine forest, native flora and habitats, fern-covered canyons, camellias, rhododendrons, magnolias and conifers, heaths and heathers, and flower-filled coastal beauty overlooking the blue ocean, make the gardens a great place to visit on the Pacific Coast.
The gardens have something for nature lovers in all season. Even in winter, heather and camellias bloom. Along with the three and half miles of trails, including pathways with ocean views and observation points for whale-watching is a splendid abundance of flowers. The rhododendrons are at their peak from April through June; the dahlias begin to bloom in August and last until October. Although old Hybrids are hard to find these days but Hybrids such as ‘Cynthia’ is very popular among visitors. A special group of hybrid is Fort Bragg Collection, comprised of rhododendrons hybridized in Fort Bragg. Some, such as ‘Noyo Chief,’ the official flower of Fort Bragg, have become very famous in the nursery market.
The Perennial Garden is a great attraction for visitors with bulbs, flowers and grasses blooming from spring to fall. Visitors are often surprised to the sight of cactus and succulents because of the mild and sometimes foggy climate, yet many grow well here. The garden has great collection of camellias. The natural areas of the garden have six different rare and endangered species of plants.
The Gardens are also very popular among bird watchers with the list of more than 150 bird species. It is very rare to spot a red-throated loon or double-crested cormorant in spring, but in summer they are common, as are the black oystercatcher, which frequents the rocky coastline year-round. Ospreys, hawks, sandpipers, plovers and Canada geese are most popular. If you’re lucky enough, on very rare occasions, you might even see an ash-throated flycatcher, a savannah sparrow or a red-breasted nuthatch.
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is a perfect setting for a great wedding. Whether your desire is exchanging your vows under a beautiful wooden gazebo, an elegant affair in the “Dahlia Garden” or dancing under the stars at “The Green”, our Gardens can be where all your wedding dreams come true. Celebrate the most important day of your life in the most beautiful, romantic and exotic environment. Invite your family and friends to join the celebration in a spectacular seaside garden surrounded by brilliant flashes of most beautiful flowers.
One of the amazing features of the Garden is The Quail Trail, a kid’s favorite: A Child’s Guide to Front Side and Back Side to the Garden. Children identify Quail markers throughout the Garden using clues from a brochure guide given at the Admission’s counter.
Visit this wonderful, beautiful place that’s worth the fairly reasonable entry fee. You can picnic there — and even get married. Many sections are wheelchair-accessible – and with certain restrictions, the garden allows dogs. If you like beautiful plants this is a must visit when you are in Fort Bragg. 47 acre walk you have to visit the viewing house in the back of the property a great view of the ocean and you relax and have a nice picnic lunch with your family.
Fort Bragg, California